Ten things to know about CMHC’s Insured Mortgage Purchase Program

In March 2020, the Trudeau government launched a new version of the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP). According to CMHC’s website: “Under this program, the government will purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through CMHC.” Here are 10 things to know: 1. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a federally-owned crown corporation. Many of us know […]

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Federal Support Package: The Pros, the Cons, and the Next Shoe to Drop

Here are some quick thoughts on the extensive package of emergency measures announced today by Prime Minister Trudeau, Finance Minister Morneau, and Bank of Canada Governor Poloz: The Pros: The government has worked quickly and creatively to find ways to deliver support to Canadians, and fast – using the infrastructure of existing benefits, and developing new channels where needed. The […]

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Economic Response to Pandemic: Go Big, Go Fast

The health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic is of course the primary concern of Canadians, and the first priority for government to address. But it is increasingly clear that the economic fallout from the pandemic is also going to constitute an emergency. And it requires government to respond as urgently and powerfully in the economic sphere, as they are […]

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Cost savings associated with Housing First

I’ve written a summary of a recent study I co-authored on savings to the health and justice sectors associated with Housing First (i.e., the immediate provision of subsidized housing, along with social work support, to persons experiencing long-term homelessness). The study, based on a large sample size from Calgary, finds that every $1 spent on Housing First is associated with […]

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Why Keynes was a socialist

In an important new book Keynes Against Capitalism: His Economic Case for Liberal Socialism (Routledge, 2019) James Crotty argues that Keynes was a socialist who advocated a much more radical economic agenda than most mainstream economists and political analysts realize. Based on a very close reading of Keynes’ work, Crotty argues that core Keynesian economic ideas should inform democratic socialism […]

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income support for low-income households in Alberta

Next week, Jason Kenney’s UCP government will table its second budget. With that in mind, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about income support for low-income households in Alberta.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Low income is associated with lower food expenditures, including fewer purchases of milk, fruits and vegetables. -Lone-parent families […]

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Assessing progress on St. John’s Plan to End Homelessness

I’ve written an assessment of the 2014-2019 St. John’s Community Plan to End Homelessness. The full assessment can be found here. Points raised in the assessment include the following: -Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest unemployment rate of any Canadian province. This pulls people into homelessness, while also making it more challenging for the provincial government to finance policy asks […]

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Ten things to know about poverty measurement in Canada

I’ve written a blog post providing an overview of poverty measurement in Canada. Points raised in the post include the following: -One’s choice of poverty measure has a major impact on whether poverty is seen to be increasing or decreasing over time. -Canada’s federal government recently chose the make the Market Basket Measure (MBM) its official poverty measure. -According to […]

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Behind Chile’s political crisis

More than one million people marched in Santiago on October 26 to protest the Government’s security response to Chile’s current political crisis and to demand structural economic reforms to reduce inequality and increase social services. In this post I analyze these grievances from a quantitative perspective and explore what it would take to translate them into policy. This is my […]

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Ending homelessness in St. John’s: Ten things to know

I’m co-author of a recent blog post about the fight to end homelessness in St. John’s (Newfoundland and Labrador). Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Recent increases in federal funding for homelessness have made a very important difference to St. John’s homeless-serving sector. I’m referring here to increases brought in by the Trudeau government. -The corrections sector […]

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Canadian Political Economy on Staple Thesis

In an impressive overview of the state of Canadian Political Economy, a new book Change and Continuity ed. by Mark P. Thomas et.al. includes two important articles on the continuing relevance of the staple thesis. On the one hand, Jim Stanford’s “Staples Dependence Renewed and Betrayed: Canada’s Twenty-First Century Boom and Best” does just as its title tells because of […]

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My review of Eric Weissman’s book on intentional homeless communities

I’ve just reviewed Eric Weissman’s book on intentional homeless communities. Points made in the review include the following: -Intentional communities in general are communities built around specific goals. But in the case of this book, I mean small communities of housing sometimes made from discarded, donated and recycled material, and sometimes purpose-built, to address homelessness. -Intentional communities are not the […]

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Alberta must find alternatives to cutting social spending

I have an opinion piece in today’s Edmonton Journal about Alberta’s current fiscal situation. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The Jason Kenney government will almost certainly announce cuts to social spending in the near future. -Yet, more than 80% of Alberta’s kindergarten through Grade 3 classes currently exceed the provincial government’s own class-size targets. -Tuition fees […]

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Electrification and Climate I: Scale of the Challenge

Many elements have to come together if Canada is to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. There is now a technical consensus that “electrification” – the replacement of fossil fuels with electricity as an energy source – is a necessary condition for decarbonization, and that electrification will require that zero/low-emission electricity generation double or triple by 2050. In this […]

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Ten things to know about this year’s Alberta Alternative Budget

The Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) is an annual exercise whose working group consists of researchers, economists, and members of civil society (full disclosure: I’m the Editor). Our general mandate is to create a progressive vision for Alberta to boost economic growth and reduce income inequality. This year’s document was released today, and here are 10 things to know: The NDP […]

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MEDIA RELEASE: Alberta should increase social spending; cuts are not the way to go

(June 24, 2019-Calgary) With Alberta’s economy still facing challenges and vulnerabilities, the Alberta government should not be doling out tax cuts or cutting social spending, according to the Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) released today. “Alberta still has, by far, the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any province,” says Nick Falvo, editor of the report. “We are in a good position to […]

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